The planned review of facts in respect of two defendants in the Abba Kyari drug deal case was stalled on Thursday owing to the fresh applications filed by the suspended former Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP).
The court had, in a ruling on April 28 this year, dismissed the objection by Kyari and some other defendants to the prosecution’s request to review facts of the case as it relates to Chibunna Patrick Umeibe and Emeka Alphonsus Ezenwane (two civilians who pleaded guilty to importing drugs).
It then adjourned till May 26 for the prosecution to review facts, following which the judge, Justice Emeka Nwite would sentence the two.
But when the case was mentioned on Thursday, a new lawyer, Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), who replaced Kanu Agabi (SAN) as the leader of the 1st and 2nd defendants’ (Kyari and ACP Sunday J. Ubia) legal team, informed the court about the fresh motions filed by his clients.
Ikpeazu said his clients have filed motion for the court to review its earlier position of bail for the 1st, 2nd, 4th and 5th defendants (Kyari, Ubia, Insp. Simon Agirigba and Insp. John Nuhu) on the grounds that their lives were under threat.
In the motion, the 1st, 2nd, 4th and 5th defendants said their fresh request for bail became necessary in view of the nature of assignments they undertook as police officers.
They claimed some inmates in the Kuje Correctional Centre, where they are currently being held, are people that Kyari’s team at the Police Intelligence Response Team (IRT) arrested.
Lawyer to the 3rd defendant (Bawa James – an Assistant Superintendent of Police), Michael Mbanefo said his client was not part of the fresh motion for bail.
Ikeazu told the court that beside the new motion for bail, his clients also filed an application for injunction to restrain the prosecution from proceeding to review facts, pending the determination of their appeal at the Court of Appeal.
He added that his clients have also filed a similar application for injunction and an appeal before the Court of Appeal.
Lead prosecuting lawyer, Joseph Sunday (the Director Legal Services, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency) faulted the approach adopted by Ikpeazu and argued that it was intended to delay proceedings.
Sunday, who said he was not served with Ikpeazu’s application for injunction, noted that the court had, before now declined Kyari and others’ bail applications and also rejected their opposition to the review of facts.
He argued that the fresh motions filed by the defendants amounted to an abuse of court’s process and were calculated at causing delay.
Sunday urged the court to allow the prosecution to proceed with the planned review of facts.
Ruling, Justice Nwite noted that since the prosecution and some of the defendants were yet to be served with all the fresh processes filed by Kyari and others, there was need for an adjournment for them to be served.
He then adjourned till June 14 for the hearing of Kyari and others’ motion for bail and their application for injunction.